On Monday, the Department of Justice named New York City, along with Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, “anarchist jurisdictions.” Though some on social media have labeled the move a gross overreach by Attorney General William Barr, others have taken to Twitter to point out how ridiculous they find the assertion.
New Yorkers were particularly humored that in a place where people can dance in the street, walk calmly through neighborhoods, enjoy lunch outdoors, have picnics in the parks and stroll their baby down the sidewalk, “anarchy” could be a legitimate concern. Thousands flooded the online platform to show their view of the “anarchist” city that could be denied federal funding under Barr’s new order.
In a statement, Barr alleges that the “anarchist jurisdiction” title was in a roundabout way issued to prompt the protection of citizens. “When state and local leaders impede their own law enforcement officers and agencies from doing their jobs, it endangers innocent citizens who deserve to be protected, including those who are trying to peacefully assemble and protest,” Barr wrote. He later added, “It is my hope that the cities identified by the Department of Justice today will reverse course and become serious about performing the basic function of government and start protecting their own citizens.”
Barr takes particular issue with the decision by the District Attorneys of Manhattan and Brooklyn not to prosecute protest-related charges and both Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo’s rejection of federal law enforcement support. Barr also links the city’s rise in shootings to the protests that began in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death. “While the city faced increased unrest, gun violence and property damage, the New York City Council cut $1 billion from NYPD’s FY21 budget.”
To rectify the aforementioned, Barr’s suggestion is to cut funding from the federal government to the already cash-strapped city.
New York Attorney General Letitia James has warned President Trump that a lawsuit will ensue if they try to withhold federal grant money from the “anarchist jurisdiction.” Governor Andrew Cuomo has also vowed to challenge the Trump administration in court if they go through with defunding the city.